SEC, Big East and More Conferences Cancel Tournaments Due to Coronavirus

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The Big East joined a group of conferences in canceling its men's basketball tournament on Thursday afternoon due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The league was the lone power conference still holding its tournament early Thursday afternoon when St. John's and Creighton tipped-off at Madison Square Garden. However, the Big East canceled it during halftime of the quarterfinals game

The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC all canceled their respective tournaments earlier on Thursday. 

The MAC, WAC and American Athletic Conference were also ready to kick off their respective tournaments on Thursday without fans in the stands. But those plans changed just before noon ET.

"There was no way we could defend playing this," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel. "There was no way we could defend playing this. We wanted to be proactive in protecting our student athletes." 

The Big Ten released a statement on canceling their tournament on Thursday afternoon. 

"The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus," a conference statement said. 

There are more than 127,000 confirmed cases of the virus globally across at least 111 countries, per The New York Times